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EPILOGUE                            331

more we change, the more we remain the same; that underlying
the superficial changes of government system, the essential
state of things, the essential corruption, futility and incom-
petence remain, and the essential hopelessness. To Western
admirers of Marco Polo's Cathay, with its magnificence and
grandeur, real China comes as a bad shock, and to the Chinese
it comes as an admission of defeat. Slowly and painfully one
realizes that we are still being ruled in the provinces by feudal
chieftains \vith vulgar names and by their illiterate -wives with
sing-song names, and that the province is lucky which sees
the type of enlightened despotism of General Han Fuchil,
despite his woeful mediaevalism. Acting as governor, magis-
trate, judge, jury and lawyer at the same time, he flogs the
one and sends the other away with a hundred dollars according
to his intuition and knowledge of physiognomy, and gives the
people some sort of a rough justice and security. Then, all of a
sudden, one realizes that we have but substituted a dozen
disguised monarchies for a genuine one, and that the Revolu-
tion of 1911 was a success only in the sense of a racial revolution,
that it only blew an empire into powder and left some ruins
and debris and choking dust behind. Sometimes one wishes
that China had remained a monarchy, and wonders with
regret why Tseng Kuofan did not march his soldiers on Peking
after suppressing the Taiping Rebellion, and found a Chinese
dynasty^, as he could very well have done, and as someone had
advised him to do. But Tseng Kuofan was a Confucianist
scholar with moral scruples, and it took an unscrupulous
imperial brigand to found an imperial dynasty* So much the
worse for the people of China!

Vain regrets. But how can one be blamed for these vain
regrets, when one was brought up in a China before her com-
plete disintegration? I can still recall the China of my
childhood days, a China none too well ruled, it is true, but
nevertheless a peaceful China. The greed and corruption and
incompetence of the Manchu Government were the same, and
some officials squeezed more than the others, but the worst
ones were impeached and deposed or sent to jail, for there was
a system. There were good governors and bad governors, but
they were educated mandarins, and not onion-eating, oath-*